Just like a load of other people, we participated in the PC Open Beta which gave us a good look at some of the new maps and a chance to test out a some of the multiplayer modes.

Call of Duty is going back to its roots this time around as it’s set in the Second World War – something that we haven’t seen in the CoD franchise since 2008. After the zero-gravity environments and grappling hook mechanic that we recently saw in Infinite Warfare, we’re now back on foot, fighting our way through the trenches with classic weaponry. However, it’s the Second World War as you’ve never seen it before. Graphically, the game looks fantastic and the maps are large and impressive to trudge through. The Open Beta playlist had a decent selection of modes that you’d expect to see in a CoD game, including Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint and a few others.

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I’ve been a fan of the CoD games since the old PC games, but I stopped following the series sometime after Black Ops 2 as the games seemed a bit stale to me. Heading into this WW2 game felt incredibly familiar as a returning player. It’s like not a lot had changed aside from the obvious upgrades to the engine. You have your annoying killstreaks to contend with, shifty respawn locations in Team Death Match… you know, all that classic Call of Duty stuff fans are used to by now.

Based on the visuals alone, this game is a strong answer to Battlefield 1 and out of the two, this is the game I’d be more inclined to play, judging by what I’ve seen so far. As someone that hasn’t had any interest in playing CoD until now, I was really impressed with what I saw in the Open Beta. The multiplayer was a fast and unforgiving experience and I found myself feeling eager to continue playing once I got into the swing of things.

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Now let’s talk about something that we’re all concerned about. Cheaters. The CoD series is no stranger to cheaters and this was still very apparent in the Open Beta. We encountered a number of cheaters who were clearly using aimbots and that definitely had an impact on our overall experience. Judging by a number of reports on Reddit and the WWII Beta Feedback thread, this was a reasonably widespread issue and, quite rightly, served as a cause of frustration for many players.

Since the Open Beta ended, Sledgehammer Games have addressed the problem and have stated that they have a “suite of anti-cheat/hacking technology” which will be deployed in the PC version by the time it launches. As a developer, they had an opportunity to show off their game for the first time and yet they allowed cheaters to ruin the game for everyone.

This is the kind of thing that will put people off buying the game, I know because I am one of those people. Modern Warfare 2 near the end of its life was filled with cheaters, let’s hope WW2 doesn’t end up like that within the first few weeks of launch.

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While Sledgehammer Games claim that stomping out cheating is one of their top priorities, it’ll be interesting to see how effective their measures are when the game releases. The game looks amazing and we had a lot of fun testing it out, aside from the cheaters. With the added pressures of having other popular FPS games such as PUBG, CS:GO and even Battlefield 1 to compete with, Sledgehammer Games have to ensure that cheaters are snubbed out as soon as possible if they want to retain their player base.

The player base of recent Call of Duty games is something Sledgehammer Games and Activision should be wary of, specifically when it comes to the PC version. The last few Call of Duty games to launch on Steam have had trouble maintaining an active player base, let alone convincing people to buy the game in the first place. Our biggest concern with WW2 isn’t the game itself, it’s the lack of players. Why would anyone want to buy a game where you’ll struggle to play anyone online? As we mentioned before, the first person shooter competition is fierce these days, so we’ll see if Sledgehammer Games do enough to convince people this game is worth playing.

Check out our video preview for Call of Duty: WWII on YouTube.